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A4H Coalition lauds passage of Excise Duty Amendment Bill

A4H Coalition lauds passage of Excise Duty Amendment Bill

The Advocating for Health (A4H) Coalition is commending Ghana’s parliament for passing the Excise Duty Amendment Bill, 2022.

The Coalition says the move is a vote for a healthier population.

The bill which will impose a 20 per cent tax on sugar-sweetened beverages (SSBs), cigarettes and e-smoking devices as well as spirits and wines, is projected to rake in about GH¢400 million annually. as part of the government’s measures to generate more revenue.

The A4H Coalition has since its inception re-echoed the World Health Organization’s (WHO) recommendation of reducing the consumption of sugar, particularly in the form of SSBs and the taxation of SSBs and other health-harming commodities implicated in obesity and non-communicable diseases (NCDs) through the Coalition’s advocacy activities and scholar activism.

According to the Coalition, ample scientific evidence shows that the excessive consumption of SSBs such as soft drinks, fruit drinks, sports drinks, energy drinks, and sweetened waters contributes significantly to obesity and other diet-related NCDs and dental caries worldwide.

In Ghana, several local studies report an increasing prevalence of overweight/obesity among Ghanaian children and adults, ranging from 16% to 46% (for children aged 6 – 15 years) and 25% to 47% among adults. Furthermore, the direct healthcare costs associated with obesity in older adults is estimated to be very high. Compared with healthy-weight adults, overweight and obesity were associated with 75% and 159% more in-patient admissions, respectively.

For adults with healthy weight, the average per person health care cost per admission was $35, whereas for adults with overweight, it was $78, and for adults with obesity, $132. The researchers also estimated that 60% of the average total cost per person expended in 2014/2015 was borne by the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS).

Extrapolating to the entire older adult Ghanaian population (aged 50+ years), the total direct healthcare cost burden for overweight and obesity was $121 million compared with $64 million for normal weight.

This implies that the government of Ghana is paying for these preventable, expensive health conditions when lives and money could be saved with health policy interventions such as SSB, tobacco, and alcohol taxes.

While commending the government for the passage of the Excise Duty Amendment Bill, the coalition is urging the Government of Ghana to adapt best practices examples from the over 80 countries that have successfully implemented excise taxes on health harming goods and ring fence the revenue generated to fund health-related programs such as health research, the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS), the Ghana School Feeding Programme (SFP), and the Livelihood Empowerment Against Poverty (LEAP) Programme. They also recommend the adoption of a sugar content-based specific excise tax., where a beverage is taxed based on the quantity of sugar.

Source: Advocating for Health Coalition


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